-- To a group of Grand Traverse-area residents who rode a bus to Lansing last week to push for changes in the way Michigan Supreme Court elections are funded. Anne Magoun of Traverse City, who organized the trip, also helped form the Michigan Independent Supreme Court Campaign last fall. The group is pushing for public funding of Supreme Court elections to avoid conflicts of interest between elected justices and litigants in cases over which they preside who may have contributed to court election campaigns.
-- To Gov. Jennifer Granholm for proposing an increase in per-student state aid that could help close the yawning gap between the highest- and lowest-funded districts in the state. Those in the lower tier -- including Traverse City -- could see their per-student aid rise by $216. State Rep. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, has continued to support the effort.
-- To the owners of the historic Bowers Harbor Inn on Old Mission Peninsula who have reportedly decided to not tear down the inn and build condos at the site. The owners will donate the value of development rights as part of an agreement with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. The agreement means the shoreline, lawn and inn building will remain untouched.
-- To Benzie County commissioners who effectively killed a proposal to allow all-terrain vehicles on the shoulders of secondary roads. ATV owners could have purchased a sticker that would help pay for enforcement and help maintains roads. Opponents said the plan was a safety issue and worried ATVs would damage adjacent fields and woods.
-- To Leelanau County officials for rejecting a plan to charge cell phone users $3.64 a month to offset a millage due to expire this year that is used to support 911 emergency services. No one has come up with a perfect replacement plan, but whatever is decided must be equitable. Cell phone users must pay their fair share.
-- To state lobbying firms, which spent $32 million last year wining and dining public officials, a 6 percent jump over last year. That's a rate of nearly $217,000 per state senator and representative. These are the folks who fashion multi-million dollar tax breaks for wealthy firms like Meijer, Inc., and other inequities.
-- To the owners of Eastport-based Brownwood Acres Foods Inc. for making illegal claims about the alleged health benefits of their cherry-based products. The Food and Drug Administration had to file a formal complaint in U.S. District Court before the firm agreed to stop making claims that "(their) products could cure, mitigate, treat or prevent various diseases including ... cancer, arthritis, gout, urinary tract infections, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease," according to the complaint. The cherry industry has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars examining the health benefits of the fruit and don't need wild, unproven claims clouding the issue.